Monthly Archives: September 2010

NCIS – Worst Nightmare

How could I manage to be right, only seconds into the episode? Sometimes I make these comments tongue-in-cheek, and I have to admit I did this time. On the other hand; there are only so many possibilities for ‘who did it’ in any one programme.

He's behind you!

The writing on the wall

Gibbs and Seelus


McGee and Zuse

Gibbs and pen

We seemed to be back in the classroom of Bait, although Daughter reckons they had redecorated. Didn’t know Milton could be so boring…

Gibbs must be getting old. Or is it CBS looking for new growth? On the other hand, we’ve had promising new faces in the past and they disappear faster than a corpse in autopsy. Younger models indeed.

And poor Palmer may have been feeling jealous, but wouldn’t it have been better for him to join in with Ducky and Knox of Kirkcaldy (pah!) than to run around like a headless chicken, getting in everybody’s way?

Scary Abby gets the intern twin of her old ‘pal’ Fred from The Ex-File. They even high five like Abby and Fred. But Seelus seems a lot nicer. He even finds Abby scarier than Gibbs. Wise man. Bells are a good idea. Is there anything which that goth doesn’t have stashed away in a cupboard?

‘It’s a work-boot and I’m still working on it’.

But weren’t granddad’s teeth scary? On the other hand; old men aren’t always useless.

(Photos © CBS)

Don Partridge

Don Partridge © Henry Metcalfe

Back in the 1960s we thought it was the coolest thing to see someone playing several musical instruments at the same time, while walking around. So Don Partridge – who died last week – became popular in Sweden. Don even had a law named after him, about the right to busk in the streets.

For me who has never been the type to rub my tummy while also patting my head, seeing someone like Don play and sing and walk was awe-inspiring. We loved him, and I think at the time we took it for granted that he’d want to settle in our perfect country. He did for a few years, but I gather Don was living in Brighton when he died.

I liked Rosie, which was his first recording, but on consideration I think I prefer Blue Eyes.

(Photo © Henry Metcalfe)

Víctor Jara

First they broke his fingers, and then they shot Víctor Jara as he sang Venceremos (We will win) in front of his fellow prisoners at the Chile Stadium. It’s a stirring image, and one I happen to believe in, but no matter how it happened, Víctor Jara died a hero.

Today would have been Víctor’s 78th birthday. He was forty when they shot him, in the days after September 11th 1973. That’s my ‘9/11’, when democracy in Chile disappeared, with the coup against the country’s elected president Salvador Allende. As a teenager at the time Chile was my political event, if that doesn’t sound tasteless. I did Spanish at school, and people I knew were involved with the refugees when they started coming.

Víctor had such a beautiful voice, but with many of his recordings destroyed it’s hard to properly appreciate his songs in today’s digital world. There are a surprising number of – I assume – television appearances by Víctor on YouTube. I don’t know who had these early videos, but it’s wonderful that someone actually saved them, however poor the sound quality.

I don’t play his songs nearly often enough, seeing as I only have them on LP. Back in the 1970s I played them all the time, and I can recite surprisingly many of the lyrics, out of order, but still… Te Recuerdo Amanda was one of the very few songs the tone deaf Mother-of-witch ever recognised.

It was a chance blog-contact email a week ago that started me thinking about Víctor again. I’m not used to others remembering either him or Allende or the coup. I provided a profile of me on Normblog a couple of years ago, and for my cultural hero I put Víctor Jara. I don’t feel you can call someone a hero too lightly.

Memory is a tricky thing, but I’m fairly certain I once met Joan Jara, Víctor’s widow. There was an evening at the Friends’ Meeting House in Brighton, at the end of the 1970s. I’m sure Joan was there. There are many other venues where I heard the big groups from Chile sing. It’s a blessing so many of them escaped Víctor’s fate. And their music did a lot to support the cause, which will be why they murdered Víctor and destroyed his music, except what Joan managed to smuggle out.

Here is a clip with Inti-Illimani singing Venceremos for Víctor and all the others

and finally Quilapayún with ¡El Pueblo Unido Jamás Será Vencido!

You can hope.

Lara A King – Soundcheck

I keep listening to Soundcheck, Lara A King’s CD which she ‘just happened to have in her hand’ as we left her Edinburgh Fringe event in August. It was a bargain at £10, considering we got an hour of Lara, for the three of us and the CD to take home. It’s just Lara’s beautiful voice, and a guitar.

For a stick-in-the-mud like me who tends to go for – well not necessarily the biggest names – but established musical artists, it’s been a long time since I listened to struggling or unknown musicians. That makes the discovery of someone like Lara so much more special.

I still love It Ain’t Mississippi best. I don’t think it’s because it’s the song Lara sings with Fascinating Aïda on their show. It’s simply a stunning song.

Then I probably like Ugly But Beautiful second best, and I can understand why Daughter asked Lara for her permission to use it as the soundtrack to her Edinburgh Book Festival photo medley.

I’m going to have to see if I can lay my hands on Lara’s other CD some time. I think it’s with a band, so will be different. But for now I love Soundcheck.

Another Apple

I didn’t know Manchester could stand in for New York. I also – briefly – didn’t know who Tommy Lee Jones is. Luckily someone on facebook reminded me. There are these actors whose names I always forget, and he is one of them. I neither like nor dislike him, but I have seen Men In Black.

One name I have no problem with is Dominic Cooper, who also appears to have been visiting our very own Manhattan. I don’t like him much, though. And the third name mentioned is Samuel L Jackson, who I just googled, and I think I’ve seen him before. Maybe I should get out more?

The film they are working on is Captain America: The First Avenger , and I have to admit to knowing nothing about that, either. But when I’m next in Manchester I will have to go and check out ‘Manhattan’.

Whose watch strap is that then?

Mark Harmon and watch strap on Leno

OK, call me obsessed. (Hi there! I’m obsessed.) But whose watch strap is it? And can they share?

It was almost impossible to miss Mark Harmon’s vividly orange watch strap while he was fiddling with all those breast implants and crickets and stuff on the Jay Leno show last winter. I wouldn’t say I made a point of remembering it, but you recognise it when you see it again.

Watch strap

The again happened this week in the first episode of NCIS season eight. Gibbs wore it. It may not be the same one, but it’s certainly orange, and very similar.

Gibbs and watch strap

So, did he forget to take it off, or did someone decide that Gibbs could wear Mark Harmon’s watch? I’d have to say that the actor wears cooler things than the federal agent does. I almost wonder if orange is not very Gibbsy?

But there it was.

NCIS – Spider and the Fly

You know your life is too exciting when you need to enter your own home doing one of those stiff-armed gun searches for baddies in every corner. Gibbs has plenty of that, and his open-door policy may not help.

Gibbs sr

I had a theory as to how the encounter between Gibbs Sr and dear Paloma would go. In fact, I had two theories, and none was right. But you could argue that what Gibbs says, courtesy of Mike Franks, that ‘you do what you have to for family’, works both ways. Daddy Gibbs does it, and so does Paloma, of course. Not to mention her charming brother Alejandro.

Mike Franks

Gibbs isn’t the only one with a father. DiNozzo has one, and so does Ziva. There are clear markings of things to come, whether there’s a lot of it and slow, or little and fast. Or any other combination. And I do I believe that was a pretend phone call director Vance had with Eli David.

Abby, Gibbs, McGee, Alejandro, Vance and DiNozzo

The poor prodigal probie McGee was back from Canada, and Ziva brought her tan lines, or lack thereof, back from Miami. And as Ducky said, ‘don’t get me started on South Carolina’s velvet ant’. Better not, then.

Abby and Ducky

There may have been exploding shop interiors and safe houses, but while Ducky can get his tea-cosy out and have a civilised drink with Abby (very sexy leather straps!) in autopsy, while ruminating on Churchill, all is well.

Alejandro and Paloma

All in all I think the cliffhanger from the end of season seven was more exciting than the beginning of season eight turned out to be. In fact, apart from the sheer joy of having them all back, it was about the wettest first episode we’ve had. It was compensated for with many of our favourite extras, and a couple of enjoyable baddies. But at this rate I think my prediction that we need Ari back is proving truer than I thought.

Jackson's shop

Was that who Eli David had found? It wouldn’t be our first fake dead Mossad agent.

(Photos © CBS)

Picturing Murdo

I could really have done without Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall in the nude. But other than that I quite enjoyed the exhibition of Murdo Macleod’s photos at the Guardian.

I wouldn’t ordinarily go out of my way to look at this type of exhibition, but after a couple of Augusts at Charlotte Square in Edinburgh ‘in the company of’ Murdo and his colleagues, I almost feel I know him. He doesn’t know me, of course, and probably doesn’t want to. I’m the Fat Controller of the Bookwitch photographer, and no matter how good her (photographic) equipment is, theirs is always bigger and better. And they are all boys together.

After seeing the article in the Guardian a few weeks ago, I thought I’d pop along to their offices if I happened to be in London at the right time. Luckily the Philippine ambassador saw fit to invite me round, so I did end up in London after all.

But, I would have welcomed more than the foyer of the Guardian. OK, so it has walls. Walls with exhibits on them. It has stairs to the offices. It has a security guard. After my trek all the way there I would have loved somewhere to sit. Many galleries have seats. You can rest, and you can think about what you’re looking at. Here I was in and out in minutes, or so it felt. I had also hoped there would be many more photos not already known to me from the paper.

The photos are good. No question about it. But then if you have access to famous people, especially in unusual settings, then half the battle has been won. Experience in how to get the famous people to pose will help, and I’m sure the superior long lenses do their job. But an amateur could take pictures like these, too. Murdo has a lot of interesting umbrellas, and I’m certain they assist him with the job in hand.

So, just get a politician to stand in front of a derelict cottage, or someone rich to sit down in an untidy room and you’re halfway there.

Or am I being unfair?

Murdo Macleod and press photographers with Philip Pullman at Charlotte Square

Murdo is the one in red. Philip Pullman asked what gave him the right to ‘give the orders’, and I believe the answer was his red fleece. This photo was taken by someone who is not aspiring to professional photography, using an ordinary small camera, which incidentally was bought after our first encounter with Philip, when we were so camera-less that we had to borrow one. But that’s another story.

Five sleeps left to the new NCIS

I may have got the number of sleeps wrong. I’m tired, which means I can only think of sleeps. And it depends where you are, geographically. At least I think it does.

According to Michael Weatherly there will be a very cute bomb squad girl in season eight, but he hasn’t told his wife this. Though I imagine she’ll know now if she also watches ET.

It seems we will know almost everything after next week’s episode. At least about NCIS and the questions planted at the end of season seven. And Michael Weatherly has done some serious thinking about what the 8 actually stands for.

Mark Harmon does that thing in the ET interview that makes him look like he wants to be anywhere but there. Wriggling does not make them go away. Stop wriggling.

Fresh Abby tattoos

McGee and Abby in hazard overall

I can tell we’re getting closer to Halloween from the added interest in Abby’s tattoos, and I hadn’t totally forgotten about updating pictures of Abby and her spider, actually. I’ve been collecting the photos, but not done anything with them.

Abby and Gibbs

Now I’m back to doing, since I’m expecting newer ones still to find their way here once season eight starts next week.


Next week! I can’t wait! Yes I can. If we’ve gone this long, another week is nothing. Seven sleeps. That’s not much.

Abby and owl t-shirt

I read in the paper yesterday that owls are in. So clearly Abby got in early with her red owl t-shirt. It’s from when she’s so happy she’s going to Mexico and hopes McGee isn’t coming.

McGee and Abby in Mexico

But he did, and here they are in Mexico pre-yoghurt incident. Pre a lot of things, really.

Gibbs and Abby

I’ll trawl some more if and when I have the time.


(Photos © CBS)